By Brandi Haas
“You’re not going to introduce yourself as ‘The Commandant’ again, are you?” My husband asks with his trademark smirk.
We are on our way to yet another doctor dinner party and my husband runs through the checklist to ensure I will behave myself. So far I have agreed to not retell stories of my time in the CIA in exchange for full bar access. He might end up regretting that one.
Doctor dinner parties: big houses and even bigger egos. Add to that equation: I don’t have a good track record at these things. I remember the invitation we received for the first one; it had a microscopic footnote that read, ‘Children Welcome.’ My husband insisted it was just a smudge, but with no babysitter to be found, we took a chance and brought our then two-year-old daughter with us.
The house was stately with the obvious touches of an interior designer. I looked closely, but not one piece of furniture had peanut butter or banana smudges anywhere. The hostess, one of the doctors my husband works with, came over and introduced herself. We made small talk then she asked what I did for a living. “I’m a stay-at-home mom,” I said with the kind of confidence that can only come from a woman who had to scrub toddler poop from under her nails an hour prior. The hostess’ smile faded a bit as she said, “Oh, that’s nice.”
Nice? I get to shower so infrequently that our water bill has actually decreased, I don’t know who the president is, and I’m fairly certain there is a Cheerio in my bra. Nice is not the word we’re searching for here, Dr. Hostess.
She continued the small talk until she saw my daughter suddenly run to the other side of the room. Dr. Hostess asked, “What is she doing?” My heart sunk and I cursed poor timing. “Well, with that intense look of concentration, she’s either pondering the indigenous people of Peru and those amazing hats they weave or she’s pooping on your custom sectional sofa.” My mother always said, ‘You can have kids or you can have class.’ Score one for kids.
Well, I have vowed that this dinner party will be better; we have a babysitter and I have updated myself on current events. We arrive and my husband goes to find us some drinks as I get comfortable by the bookcase. I find a book entitled, “Removing Vestigial Organs” so I pick up it, figuring I might as well learn something while I’m here.
“Planning on performing an appendectomy?” A doctor I’ve never met before is engaging me in conversation. This is new territory for me, so I choose my words carefully. “No, but the book on lobotomies is already checked out so I went with the next best thing.”
“I’m Dr. SingleMaltScotch, nice to meet you.”
“I’m a stay-at-home mom with a slight Blues Clues addiction.” I wait for his imminent retreat but he sticks around and keeps asking questions. “So what are your hobbies?”
“Hobbies? Okay, well I really enjoy using the bathroom by myself and I love staring,” I answer with every bit of honesty in me.
He appears thoroughly intrigued. “Staring?”
“Yeah, it’s great. I usually get a solid twenty minutes to myself, somewhere around midnight; I pick a wall in my house and then I stare at it. I’d like to say I think deep thoughts during the staring but mostly I just hum quietly. Yesterday I hummed the entire ‘1812 Overture,’ but I really don’t like to brag.”
“I will have to give staring a try,” he says and then he moves on.
My husband reappears with drinks and I tell him excitedly, “Someone was actually interested in what I had to say!” as I point to Dr. SingleMaltScotch.
“Oh yeah, that’s the new psychiatrist,” my husband tells me.
Crap. Oh well. “Is he taking new patients?”